Thursday, June 21, 2007

Three for Thursday: Parenting Twins, Harry Potter Mania & Booster Seats

Item #1: Multiples Madness

The July issue of Parents and Kids focuses on the unique challenges of raising twins, triplets, quads, and “higher order multiples.” Included in the package is an essay from yours truly about what it’s like to parent grade school-aged twins.

In a word: Insane.

In three words: Lotsa coffee necessary.

Item #2: The Summer of Potter

Before the kids’ summer vacation commenced, I bought the first Harry Potter book with the notion that I’d read a little bit of the book aloud to the kiddos throughout the summer, mostly for the benefit of my soon-to-be 6-year-old who can’t yet read on his own but likes to be read “big kid” fare. But before I even had a chance to pick it up, my daughter Abbey decided to take a look at it on Monday. By Wednesday night, she was done. With a 300-plus page book. She’s 8.

Doing her best Rory Gilmore impression, Abbey had her nose in that book non-stop for three days. I was stunned. And even though I’m bursting with pride that she’s passionate about reading (just like her dear old ma), there were several times in the past few days when I had to literally grab the book out of her hands in order to make her do things like, oh, I dunno, eat and sleep.

When we were in a local bookstore yesterday to buy birthday presents for a friend whose party she’s attending later today, she begged me to buy the second book in the Potter series. And with Abbey’s twin brother Jonah now suddenly intrigued with tackling a Potter book (he previously thought it seemed too hard to read), I agreed.

It’s shaping up to be the summer of Potter.

Item #3: Booster Seats for Grade Schoolers

I expect that I’m one of a small group of parents of grade schoolers who still has my twin 8-year-olds sit in booster seats when they’re in vehicles. The American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends that kids sit in booster seats when they’re in vehicles until they’re 4’ 9” (usually between ages 8-12) in order to make sure that the seatbelts hit the kids on the right spots on their bodies (so the belts aren’t digging into the kids’ faces, necks, etc.). My kids aren’t quite that tall yet, so they still use booster seats for most trips, though, on some occasions — such as when The Spouse or I have forgotten to put the booster seats into one another’s vehicles — they do ride without them on short trips.

But the days of parents being able to use their discretion about booster seats may be numbered if a bill pending in the Massachusetts State Legislature passes and mandates booster seats. (Parents with kids riding sans the booster seats could be fined.)

I think booster seats are great ideas. They’re inexpensive. They’re easy to move to different vehicles, even though I sometimes forgets to do so. My family uses them because we think they work well for our kids. As a rule, I’m not one for the government sticking its nose into family lives. (See previous entries opposing banning smoking in cars with children present.) It’s one thing to mandate that babies be put in car seats because they are so very fragile, but mandating booster seats for grade schoolers goes just one step further than I’m comfortable with.

Give parents the information. Tell us why booster seats are a good idea. Disseminate that information and safety statistics through the school systems. Then let us decide. And, if the Massachusetts lawmakers are bored and looking for something to do, why don’t they pass the breastfeeding legislation?

E-mail Meredith

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